September 2022 Edition
Pam Richmond, Senior Web Developer, EVS
Sometimes, STEM disciplines shift to reflect inclusion of art and creativity. In these rare intersections, the familiar acronym becomes STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math). It is in this rare corner where Pam Richmond has carved her career.
Richmond, senior web developer in the Environmental Science (EVS) division, is responsible for managing multiple facets of the websites she designs and develops, from color palettes to code. She also builds highly technical websites visible at all levels of the Department of Energy (DOE). Her website work is credited with improving public involvement in certain programs and more expeditiously sharing information.
Richmond became interested in computer programming in middle school but she always loved art. By the time she entered the College of St. Francis, she elected to major in computer science and minor in art. In the days before an image-rich, broadband Internet, she didn’t imagine the two fields of study would be that relevant to one another.
The opposite, of course, was true, and the narrative of modern web development arced toward the better for those who were creative and tech savvy. Richmond considers herself fortunate to have had a computer programming professor who encouraged the class not to just focus on the keystroke side of things. He emphasized the value of good writing and communication as well.
“That was excellent advice for any career,” said Richmond. “Even if you’re ‘just sitting behind a desk,’ you will interact with people and it’s important to be versatile and flexible. There will always be something to do if you can do a variety of work.”
Staying current with technology is a never-ending challenge for Richmond (and for all programmers), as web technologies and frameworks change quickly. She tries to lean on what she knows well to get her job done efficiently, but she also picks up new skills when opportunities arise.
“It can be difficult to anticipate where trends are headed and which approach will stand the test of time,” said Richmond. “It is impossible to learn everything.”
Her advice to women interested in careers in science or technology is, “Be open to trying new things, and be willing to make mistakes or fail; competence doesn’t come easily, but it’s worth the investment of time and energy to develop yourself.”
Richmond strives to find work-life balance and works part-time to be available for both job and family.
“Sometimes I use vacation time to attend school events or spend time with my daughter,” she said. “I am thankful for the flexibility because, as a result, we are able to share many special memories.”
“I keep working at it, and I find balance in the process,” she continued. “There are a lot of demands for our time and attention. It takes determination and perseverance to keep everything in perspective.”